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The Good Life Report - Tax Returns and Keeping Warm While Exercising  Thumbnail

The Good Life Report - Tax Returns and Keeping Warm While Exercising

Hi there! If you are a loyal reader of our blogs, you'll recognize that the Good Life Report looks a bit different this week. We like to keep things fresh and that includes our weekly blog content. We have the same content topics you love (tax and health tips) mixed in with a few new pieces (photos, riddles, etc).

Do you have feedback for us? We'd love to hear it! Please send your thoughts to lblair@steinfg.com.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

– Albert Camus

Know and Understand Your Correct Filing Status

Taxpayers need to know their correct filing status and be familiar with each choice.

When preparing and filing a tax return, the filing status affects:

  • If the taxpayer is required to file a federal tax return

  • If they should file a return in order to receive a refund

  • Their standard deduction amount

  • If they can claim certain credits

  • The amount of tax they should pay

Here are the five filing statuses:

Single: Normally, this status is for taxpayers who are unmarried, divorced, or legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree governed by the state law.

Married filing jointly: If a taxpayer is married, they can file a joint tax return with their spouse. When a spouse passes away, the widowed spouse can usually file a joint return for that year. 

Married filing separately: Married couples can choose to file separate tax returns, when doing so results in less tax owed than filing a joint tax return. 

Head of household: Unmarried taxpayers may be able to file using this status, but special rules apply. For example, the taxpayer must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for themself and a qualifying person living in the home for half of the year.

Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child: This status may apply to a taxpayer if their spouse died during one of the previous two years and they have a dependent child. Other conditions also apply.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov1

Keeping Your Heart Rate Up (When Temperatures Are Down)

Colder weather can steal our motivation to leave the warmth of our homes unless we have to. But your workouts don’t need to stop during the winter. Here are a few ways you can feel the burn indoors, while Mother Nature keeps it cool outside.

Hop to it with a rebounder (a mini trampoline) or a jump rope. If you have neither, fake it by keeping your hands to your sides and rotate them as you mimic the rest of the exercise sans equipment.

Find a YouTube video or other streaming guided workout. Can’t squeeze in a full half hour at once? Pause it and return when you’re ready.

If you can afford it, invest in a piece of workout equipment you know you’ll use. If you run or hike, consider a treadmill with an adjustable incline. Like to ride your bike? Consider getting a stationary one.

There are lots of ways to stay fit while winter rages on outside. But don’t forget to always make sure to discuss any medical concerns with your health care provider before beginning any fitness routine; the information provided is not a substitute for medical advice.

Tip adapted from Real Simple2

A man claims he was 88 years old two days ago, and yet he also tells you that he will turn 91 next year. How can this be?

Last week’s riddle: Four cars approach an intersection with four-way stop signs simultaneously, each car coming from a different direction. After stopping, the drivers all accelerate at the same time. However, there is no accident. How is this possible?  Answer: All four cars made right turns.

Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, Washington State.

1. IRS.gov, October 1, 2020
2. RealSimple.com, December 12, 2018